Guest Post: Addiction Survivors Find Their Way Back to Sobriety
“I truly believe that anyone who can go from the depths of addiction to being able to maintain
a life of recovery is a miracle.” – Jami,Recovery Survivor
Living a life beholden to substance abuse is a dismal existence. Whether it’s drugs or alcohol, having your life hijacked by addiction will turn you inside out. You’re no longer polite, nice, or honest. You might be stealing, cheating, and hurting other people. In essence, you’ve become someone else, falling deeper into a hole, feeling like you will never climb out.
But all it takes is a tiny sign of light and hope that you can beat addiction and be your true self again. That light is like a strong arm that reaches out to pull you up and out of that deep hole. Getting your life back will be a struggle and you’ll go through hell, but in the end, you’ll have found your way back to you.
For people on the cusp of seeking help for substance abuse, it helps to hear from others who’ve been in the trenches. People desperate for help or direction find great inspiration in others who have fought off the demons of addiction. It’s these stories that continue to help addiction victims find their way out of those deep, dark holes.
Bev was a Christian, stay-at-home mom with four daughters. Her life was completely normal until she had surgery and was prescribed painkillers. A few more surgeries followed, all with prescriptions for painkillers. It didn’t take long before Bev was hooked. When prescriptions were no longer an option, Bev started buying pills on the street. Eventually, everything started to snowball. After realizing she was spending thousands of dollars a week on pills and not paying for things her daughters needed, Bev knew it was time to make a change. She went to her husband, and together, they found a treatment facility.
That was in 2015. Bev is now two years sober and works tenaciously to keep her ship righted.
When asked what she learned about herself, Bev was quick to respond. “Before I got treatment, I was a mom first and a wife. I didn’t know who I was or where my identity had gone. But, when I went to [treatment], I was Bev. I was able to focus on me and who I was and who I wanted to become.
“When I was taking pills, they masked who I was. [In treatment], I took off that mask. It wasn’t easy, but I learned how to do it. Now, I can decide what I want to do. I set boundaries with my family, and communicate with them.”
Growing up in an abusive household, Shawn turned to drugs to numb his pain. For the next
20 years, he continued to use. Marriage and having a son didn’t seem to help, and soon Shawn’s relationship was in shambles and he found himself divorced. Eventually he pulled
his life back together enough to remarry, but old habits were hard to break. Tired of his addictive behavior, Shawn’s new wife kicked him out, and with no friends and nowhere to go, he was homeless. In the midst of this, a serious motorcycle accident left Shawn with four broken ribs. Realizing he was without a job, a wife, and in tremendous pain, Shawn decided it was time for a change. Treatment was his only option.
Today Shawn is happy and sober, working, repairing his marriage, and reconnecting with his son.
When asked how he feels after treatment, Shawn said, “I haven’t been this happy since I don’t know when. I care about who I am, and I want to enjoy life now. It’s good to feel again.”
He was also quick to point out what keeps him sober.
“What keeps me sober each day is praying; feeling good, not feeling guilty; knowing in my heart and in my soul that I’m doing the right thing. I want to shine light where there’s darkness. My goal is to make amends, and to help someone else out.”
Bev and Shawn made it through recovery and they are taking life one day at a time. It will be a lifelong challenge, but they’re doing it. It’s people like Bev and Shawn who show that anyone can suffer addiction — and anyone is capable of reclaiming their life. Here’s to them and the millions of others making it happen.
*Note from Z:
Thanks to Constance for sharing these stories. I’m reminded every day that recovery is hard but a life of addiction is harder. For more stories of hope like these visit recoverywell.org, a safe, non-judgmental place to share how addiction has affected you and your loved ones, whether based on your personal struggles with substance abuse or through witnessing a loved one battle the disease.